Briefly describe the work you do.
Beaded sheets are constructed meticulously through the interlocking of beaded loops. These complex structures mimic the identities they incase through logo placement, by showing how much work has gone into the building of corporate identity. Looking at these sheets of beads, be it over an object or detached from it, the sheet will always make you think about the corporations logo that is placed on it. These thoughts will alter your perception of the object and lead you to certain conclusion, which branches off of the corporations identity.
Tell us about your background and how that has had an influence on your work and on you as an artist.
While I am a Jewish American Female, I have never felt overly attached to this identity. Feeling a lack of identity, has made me fascinated in ideas of mythology and the forming of identity. This is why I feel so attached to corporations and the identities they build for themselves. I have come to believe that my lack of identity is not just a personal feeling, but actually an American feeling and as Americans we buy from corporations to fill in our own identities. The idea of the corporate america has influenced my art since undergraduate school, making me see the value that we place on corporations not only as something that carries weight but also something that is very empty. The emptiness I see in corporate identity reemphasizes the emptiness I still feel from my own lack of identity.
The concept of the artist studio has a broad range of meanings in contemporary practice. Artists may spend much of their time in the actual studio, or they may spend very little time in it. Tell us about your individual studio practice and how it differs from or is the same as traditional notions of “being in the studio.”
Being in school for the past six years, has blessed me with a space that would be defined as the traditional studio, a place that is designated only for my art practice. While I did spend numerous hours in my studio, unfortunately it was not always open when I wanted to work. Since I have had these complications with time frames, I have become very adaptable to many spaces. I have found my self working outside and inside, laying on my bed or sitting at my desk, even working on a bus or plane. I have found that my studio can be anywhere I focus my passion on my art. Currently I do not have a traditional studio, all I have is an apartment, which I use as the place I make my art.
What roles do you find yourself playing that you may not have envisioned yourself in when you first started making art?
I find my self promoting and submitting my work to shows I feel I fit into as well as contacting galleries to consider my work to represent. While I did discover this role about being an artist early in the game, I still find it a struggle to not only try to sell my work, but also sell me as an artist. Outside of being a promoter, I am also the funder of my artistic practice, working as an adjunct professor and a waitress. These jobs help me not only fund my materials but also help me submit my art to shows that might be juried and need a submission fee. Over all I see my self as the maker, the funder and the promoter of my own art practice.
When do you find is the best time to make art? Do you set aside a specific time everyday or do you have to work whenever time allows?
Personally I like to work on my art during the day and into the night. I would say that I usually dedicate anywhere to an hour all the way up to an entire day. The amount of time I spend depends on if I have a set deadline to finish a piece or if I am working at one of my other two jobs.
How has your work changed in the past five years? How is it the same?
While my work has always dealt with corporations, my ideas and understanding of these companies has evolved over the years changing the way my art illustrates these ideas. When I started working with corporate logos I knew that we placed value in these symbols, but at the time I did not fully understand or grasp these values and where they actually come from. After reading No Logo I understood that the buyer never put a value on these companies. The companies where the ones applying an identity to an inanimate formed company. These ideas made me question my original idea of placing a logo onto an object, thus giving the object the association of that logo. I now realized that these identities are unobtainable and do not carry any really weight. With the newer work I have been interested in ideas of inobtainablity and power of suggestion, having logos mislead ones assumptions and change the way one might read a piece.
How have people such as family, friends, writers, philosophers, other artists or even pop icons had an impact on the work you do?
Commercials have alway impacted me, brain washing me to want a current toy as a kid, even changing the way I might see a company as being unhealthy. While commercials have fascinated me, the writings about these companies have impacted me more. They have made me rethink commercials as not only senders of messages, but have made me realize the complexity of the whole spectrum of commercials as a form of building an identity. This has helped me understand and evolve my work into what it has become today and what it might become tomorrow, pushing me further into my journey as an art maker.
Have you ever been pulled in the direction of a pursuit other than being an artist? What are your other interests?
Outside of my art practice, I have pushed through getting a graduate degree not only to build up my work, but to help me with my second pleasure, teaching. While I am just at the begging of my teaching, it has forced me to get a second job, waitressing. Waitressing is in no way something I plan to pursue too far down the road. I hope to be able to obtain a full time position teaching, which will give me the time to work on both of my passions- teaching and art.
Simone Schiffmacher has a MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art in Fiber and has received a BFA at the Cleveland Institute of Art in Fiber and Material Studies. Simone has had her work displayed in group shows at the Cranbrook Museum of Art, Los Angeles Center for Digital Art, Art Space Gallery, the Detroit Artist Market, Delta College Gallery, Hatch Gallery,Canton Museum of Art, , and Reinberger Galleries. Her work has been mentioned in “Student Independent Exhibition at Cleveland Institute of Art surpasses last fall’s faculty show” as well as “CIA’s student show departs from conventionality.” She has had artist lectures at the Cleveland Museum of Art, Delta Community College and the Detroit Artist Market. Simone has been awarded; Cranbrook Academy of Art Scholarship Finalist, the 3th Hal and Cyndy Goodwin Award, Barbra L. Kulhman Foundation Scholarship, the 4th Hal and Cyndy Goodwin Award, the Wenda von Weise ’75 Memorial Scholarship, as well as Merit Scholarship.
All images copyright of the artist and used with their permission.